Lockyer: Prop. 66 will hurt state

Jackson Bell

Despite strong voter support for a ballot measure to loosen the

state's tough "three strikes" law, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer told local

crime fighters and civic leaders this week that it could leave

communities more vulnerable to violent criminals.

Voters are being swayed by deceptive anecdotes they hear about

people receiving life sentences for shoplifting because it's their

third strike when upwards of 30,000 felons -- some who committed

violent crimes -- could be released if the law is changed, Lockyer

said.

He told his audience Wednesday at Glendale Police's Community Room

that he disagrees with critics' rationale for freeing jailed felons

because each one costs taxpayers $30,000 yearly, saying the possible

damage of not having them behind bars is "costless."

"I would rather pay than have to endure that result," Lockyer said

of what rapists or murderers might do. "To narrow the 'three strikes'

law will hurt the community."

A Los Angeles Times poll Monday found that 62% of likely voters

supported Proposition 66, while 21% opposed it and 17% were

undecided.

Lockyer also discussed the alarming rise of homicides from gang

activity in the past 20 years -- a jump from 10% to nearly 50% of

total murders in Los Angeles County. He suggested bulking up

law-enforcement agencies, saying 80,000 officers is not enough to

police 34 million residents.

In addition, he voiced support for Prop. 69, which would allow

law-enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples of felons and anyone

arrested but not yet convicted of a felony.

"For each arrestee, we take mug shots and fingerprints. [Tracking

their] DNA is just like fingerprinting," he said.

The meeting, which was organized by Assemblyman Dario Frommer

(D-Glendale), featured such dignitaries as Glendale Police Chief

Randy Adams, CHP Southern Division Assistant Chief Art Acevedo,

Burbank Police Chief Thomas Hoefel and Glendale City Councilmen Gus

Gomez and Frank Quintero.

Adams was eager to hear from Lockyer, whom he called the state's

"top cop."

"I'm interested in his perspective because what he does at the

state level affects us locally," Adams said.

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